House Robbery vs House Burglary – Is There a Difference?

Crime is something that almost everyone has experienced, especially in our own homes. If you ever had to come home and you realized that some of your items were missing and you call the police, what kind of crime would you be reporting?

People tend to use the terms robbery and burglary interchangeably. However, these words have different definitions even though they refer to unlawfully taking someone else’s possessions. So, what are the differences between the crimes?


What is a House Burglary?

House burglary refers to the crime where someone forcibly enters your home without using open doors or climbing through open windows. It requires the burglars to break a window or a sliding door screen in order to enter. The purpose of a house burglary is to commit a crime such as theft, arson or vandalism, and the intent of the crime must be proven. In most instances, before the burglary occurs, the burglars will watch the place first before choosing to make a move. There is a common misconception that house burglaries only happen late at night when people are usually sleeping, but they can occur at any time of the day. The most popular times of house burglaries are during the evening and then the second most popular time is in the afternoon.

In South Africa, house burglary is the most common crime that is experienced by households. The figures for house burglaries have increased in the last five years as 2.3 million households have experienced a burglary. 53% of households experience house burglaries each year in the country. During 2019/20, 51.7% of households reported having experienced burglaries which is an alarming number.

The most common months to experience house burglaries are June, September and December. It is also interesting to note that households that are part of the lowest and highest income bracket were most likely to experience house burglaries. Low-income families earn between R1- to R1500, whereas the highest income bracket makes around R16 001 and more.


What is a House Robbery?

House robberies are the second most common crimes in South Africa. House robbery refers to the crime where a person takes something that has value from someone’s home, such as money or furniture, without their permission. The items do not need to hold monetary value for it to be considered a home robbery, and they do not have to be successful in their attempt either. Another factor that makes house robberies dangerous is that they occur when there are people at home, and there is the use of intimidation like threats and force, which in most instances includes violence. Due to the violent nature that home robberies have, victims are at risk for experiencing personal injuries and emotional trauma.

In South Africa, the province experiencing the highest rate of house robberies was Gauteng, followed by KwaZulu Natal. 75% of home robberies occur at night, and the most common times for robberies at night are between 21:00 to 23:59. The most popular times for morning robberies are 00:00 and 02:59. These are the most popular times to commit this crime as people are either sleeping or relaxing. Close to 66% of people who commit home robberies consist of small groups with two or three members, and their ages range between 15 to 34 years.

Since home robberies use intimidation and violence in most instances, there is the use of weapons. In home robberies, weapons are used 99.9% of the time; and the most used were guns, followed by knives, metal bars, and axes.


House Robbery and House Burglary

There are apparent differences that exist between house robberies and house burglaries. The first main difference is that one tends to take on a much more violent nature, but the other does not. Both these crimes were least likely to occur during January, May and November. During both house robberies and house burglaries, the most targeted items were electrical goods, the next being money, jewellery and cellphones.

The main reason the rate for house robberies is significantly low compared to that of house burglaries is due to the violence that is accompanied by the crime. Regarding the rates of arrests that occur for both offences, they both are above 18%, whereas the conviction rate stands at 14.3% for house burglaries and 22% for home robberies. In essence, one out of 5 people are arrested for both crimes, while 1 out of 5 people arrested for house burglaries are convicted, and 1 out of 3 people arrested for house robberies are convicted.


Security Measures You Can Implement Today

Types of Security Gates to Consider

Retractable Security Gates

These sliding security gates have been best sellers for over 45 years. They have a robust double trellis design that opens and closes smoothly and easily. Trellidor customers can choose between steel or aluminium sliding gates. There is a choice of either the Trellidor deadlock or slamlock. These expanding gates can be custom-made to fit doors, windows, passages, patios, hatches and most other building openings, keeping them safe from intrusion.

Fixed Security Gates

These trellis-patterned burglar bars match Traditional Trellidor security gates in design and strength. They do not open like gates but remain fixed in place to protect windows. There is a choice of galvanized steel or structural aluminium burglar bars.

This burglar-proofing range has a full, four-sided frame and double upright bars to create a strong, dependable form of protection from intruders. Each burglar bar unit is custom-made to fit the window and installed with tamper-proof fixings. Specialized coatings protect them against corrosion and UV-rays and produce a high-quality finish and long lifespan.


Types of Security Doors to Consider

Security Shutters

Aluminium premium shutters made by Trellidor are more than just an attractive window covering. They provide a high level of protection too, thanks to in-built strengthening features.


These modern shutters are free from external clutter because the operating mechanisms are concealed inside them and there are no external levers or rods. They are perfect window and patio shutters and can also be used in doorways or to divide up a large living or working space.


Roller Shutters

Trellidor Rollerstyle aluminium roller shutter doors provide effortless protection for home & businesses. Fitted to passages or on stairways, they create a secure zone for personal safety. Trellidor Rollerstyle doors can be custom-made for windows too.

These roller shutters can be fitted internally or externally. They roll up neatly into a shutter box when not required. These lock-down doors can be fully automated, remote controlled and incorporated into a ‘smart home’ system if desired.

Security Screens

Trellidor Clear Guard security screens are made from a stainless-steel woven mesh screen inside a neat aluminium frame. They are beautifully designed to provide a high level of see-through security for windows, doors, patios and other openings.

Clear security screens are the perfect protection for windows that have lovely views. You can see right through the mesh screen. It does not clutter up or block your view, but it does offer exceptional protection from intruders.

Sectional Doors

Trellidor Coroview slimline sectional overhead doors are made from extruded aluminium frames and toughened glass panels. They provide high visibility and are ideal for full opening applications. These doors are popular for fire stations, fitment centers, motor dealer showrooms, retail stores, garages, and verandas.


Types of Burglar Bars to Consider

Burglar Guard

Trellidor Burglar Guard is a budget-friendly galvanized steel window burglar bar in a clean-lined, neat format. It is the perfect security choice for homes & offices with lots of windows that need protecting and for windows that do not need sliding security gate barriers.

There is a choice of window burglar guard design options, all of which can be powder coated to blend in with their surroundings.

Cottage Guard

Trellidor Cottage Guard is a premium quality burglar bar system that has few rivals on the market in terms of strength. It is manufactured using square aluminium tubing reinforced with a steel threaded rod through the centre of each tube. It provides exceptional window protection in terms of strength under attack. This burglar proofing can be custom-made for cottage pane windows or to create a cottage pane effect on large glass windows.



Understanding the difference between house robbery and house burglary empowers homeowners to adopt appropriate security measures. Security barriers such as retractable security gates, roller shutters & burglar bars, play a crucial role in safeguarding against both incidents, providing peace of mind, and contributing to a safer living environment. By investing in these protective measures and combining them with other security technologies, homeowners can take significant steps towards protecting their homes, belongings, and most importantly, the well-being of their loved ones.

the ultimate crime barrier

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